Cowboys add Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch with pick 19

The Dallas Cowboys has the opportunity to select the top wide receiver in the draft to help bolster a unit that lost Dez Bryant to a cap saving cut, as Calvin Ridley, DJ Moore, and Courtland Sutton were all on the board at pick 19 on Thursday night.

Instead, Jerry Jones and the Dallas front office opted to address a need at linebacker by selecting Boise State star Leighton Vander Esch to play alongside Jaylon Smith and oft-injured stud Sean Lean.

Vander Esch delivered a strong junior season for Boise State, with 141 tackles to go along with four sacks and three interceptions. The Riggins, Idaho native displayed excellent tackling ability and elite sideline-to-sideline speed. He projects to be an instant starter in Rod Marinelli’s defense and gives the team more depth should Lee continue his recent injury streak.

The Cowboys have two draft selections on Friday, with pick 18 (50 overall) in the second round and pick 17 (81 overall) in the third. It would make sense for Dallas to focus on adding a wide receiver like Sutton, but a cornerback or safety also makes sense.